In an interview with the Christian Post, Dr. Ron Boyd-MacMillan, who serves as Director of Strategic Research with Open Doors, stated based on current growth trends there will be over 300 million Christian believers in that communist country by 2030. In 2019, China’s population was reported to be 1.4 billion people.
He believes this rapid growth is behind the Chinese Communist Party’s attempt to crack down on Christianity in that country.
Boyd-MacMillan told Christian Post:
“And if it grows at the rate that it has done since 1980, and that’s about between 7 [percent] and 8 percent a year, then you’re looking at a group of people that will be 300 million strong, nearly by 2030. And, you know, the Chinese leadership, they really do long term planning, I mean, their economic plan goes to 2049, so this bothers them. Because I think if the Church continues to grow like that, then they’ll have to share power.”
The Communist regime’s persecution of believers is three-fold. First it is employing an outward attack using its Social Credit system to track and punish those who become Christians. This can range from refusing benefits to preventing them from buying goods and services.
Secondly, it is starting to close churches and has banned the sale of Bibles online.
Thirdly, it is forcing churches that are part of the state-approved Three-Self Patriotic Movement to embrace communism as part of their teaching and the government demands a role in choosing the individuals who will pastor these churches.
However, these moves by the Communist regime will just drive the church back underground where it thrives the best. But that is also increasingly becoming the target as well.
According to The Express, in 2016, Chinese President Xi Jinping inadvertently revealed his concerns about the growth of the underground church when he told a group a Communist leaders:
“If unregistered churches are not willing to be managed by the government or guided by the China Christian Council, the government shall guide and transform their thoughts.”
In a blog post, Jack Wu, a Chinese Christian, shared a form he received from a believer in China that teachers and parents of children attending schools in China’s Guizhou province were forced to fill out.
First, they were asked if they attended an underground church and if they did, to list the leaders of the group and the members of this church. Any teacher who refused to fill out the form was fired and the children of parents who refused expelled.
Unfortunately, it only takes one person for a group to be exposed.
And in the province of Guangzhou, Communist officials were offering rewards starting at $350 US to turn in believers. The largest reward, $1,500 US, went to anyone willing to work with the local police to infiltrate an underground church.
The Apostle Paul warned the elders of Ephesus they need to beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing, people pretending to be believers (Acts 20:29-30). I have wondered if the gift of discernment (1 Corinthians 12:10) will play a role in exposing these infiltrators.
But throughout history, we have seen repeated examples of how the church thrives best under persecution, than when it has a dominant role in society.
In the Book of Acts, Luke states after the martyrdom of Stephen in Jerusalem, believers fled the city and this spread the Gospel across the Roman Empire.
19 Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews. 20 Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21 The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord. (Acts 11:19-21 NIV)
But it is important to note that as the persecution ramped up, the Lord’s hand was also upon the people. The Holy Spirit matched the increased persecution with a substantially heavier anointing.
This had the unexpected result of the church growing in the face of persecution.
READ: China’s Communist leaders fear Christian population may reach 300 million by 2030 AND China is serious this time AND Chinese government shuts down underground churches to ‘transform thoughts’ of Christian AND Guangzhou to encourage modern-day Judas with cash rewards for people who report on house churches: